It’s an age-old question – coffee, or tea? While the
caffeine in coffee may help us wake up faster, more and more of us seek tea for
its relaxing, Zen-like character.
Our recent beverage trends may have inspired Starbucks’ latest creation – its first ever Zen tea house, opened earlier this week in New York City (under the Teavana name, acquired by Starbucks earlier.)
From the LA Times: The new tea bar will feature a relaxed decor, gray walls and dim lighting, unlike any existing Teavana store, and will be a stark change from the hustle and bustle of existing Starbucks locations. The tea bars will also be devoid of any Starbucks logos.
And from USA Today: Unlike Starbucks, where the culture is more about drinks-on-the-go, at Teavana, the aura, design and mood is all about lingering. The contemporary-designed chairs are padded and comfy. The lighting is low. And the sheer variety of teas and munchies seems to require time to sit and savor.
Perhaps we are no longer coffee-craving consumers. In times of stress and uncertainty, it may be that a peaceful tea cup can add something greater than caffeine content to our morning routines. And this is what retailers have begun to notice:
From Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: "It's much more Zen-like than anything you'll find in a Starbucks store. When you walk in, you see a shrine to tea. The store demonstrates our knowledge of tea and romances the theater of tea with a visual experience."
What do you think? Will Zen tea houses overshadow coffee shops in the next few years? Or will you continue to seek coffee beans as your own personal Zen, regardless of what companies decide?
*Image courtesy of Starbucks, obtained via USA Today